Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Use of Amnesia in Literature

There are LOTS of stories where characters lose their memory.  Our book this week, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, using this method, mostly for the shock factor. We, as the reader, don't know where she came from or who she was.  And, as you read through, you realize that this is mostly to keep the reader in the dark of The Big Twist.  If your main character doesn't know, then the reader doesn't either.

Really, I just love this series and will take any opportunity to slip it in.

We've read some other books where amnesia is present.  The Maze Runner is a big one, and while the amnesia is used for The Big Twist, it's also used to make exposition feel a little more natural.  When someone sits there and explains the rules and the maze to our main character, and thereby explaining it to the reader, it doesn't feel forced because our main character is completely clueless.

Amnesia is also used a lot to facilitate a mystery.  In All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark, the main character is accused of murdering her English professor.  She can seem to remember anything about what happen, and all the evidence seems to point to her.  Clark uses the memory loss as a coping mechanism for her character and it helps to also shroud the whole murder in mystery.

These are just a few ways authors use memory loss to make their stories happen.  What other novels do you know where amnesia plays a big role?

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